Shay Seaborne is a trauma survivor, educator, and activist dedicated to demystifying trauma and helping people heal from – and with – Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD).
Seaborne survived childhood sexual abuse at the hands of family members, as well as abuse and torture at other hands during her teens, only to become retraumatized by a mental healthcare system that essentially incarcerated her against her will for as long as insurance would pay for it.
She found her own road to recovery, and what she recovered was herself. And that self – funny, caring, wise – is now paying it forward.
In our far-ranging conversation, we covered the origins of trauma, the mistaken societal beliefs that reinforce trauma and get in the way of healing, and ways of empowering trauma survivors to reconnect with their bodies.
Seaborne spoke to the current pandemic as a “pre-traumatic state” for many of us, which is triggering old traumas through both chronic stress and inaccessibility of social support. As a result, we're seeing more and more acting out of old wounds on an individual and societal level.
The opportunity here is for each of us to get in touch with those old traumas, those disconnections from our selves that we enacted when our internal resources were no match for what was happening to us, and bring them into the light. To face them not as helpless infants or children, but as full adults with choices and understanding.
We discussed various ways of healing trauma, from art to drum circles to communal dance to psychedelics and other teacher plants, to a simple and quick breathing technique that Seaborne demonstrated (and guided me through). And laughter – always laughter.
After our conversation, Seaborne sent me a list of resources to share with you:
This recording is one of many tools you can use to help you become more familiar with your felt sense, the sense of the inner body, a vital connection.
“Take the tedium and the anxiety out of washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with this practice. Each time you wash your hands you can not only be getting rid of those pesky germs, but also letting go of excess tension and stress so you feel more at ease in yourself!”
Dr. Siegel’s website details the seven daily essential mental activities to optimize brain matter and create well-being: Focus Time, Play Time, Connecting Time, Physical Time, Time In, Down Time, Sleep Time.
Self-regulation is a key ability for all people, one often disrupted by trauma, especially in those with earliest onset. These simple practices can help an anxious person down-regulate to a more positive and prosocial activation level. They are most beneficial when practiced in advance of anxiety so they are familiar as a go-to for relief.
Dr. Siegel explores the areas of mindfulness, attention, and consciousness through an interpersonal neurobiology and mindsight lens. By looking closely at the history of mindfulness, a detailed understanding of the mind, and the neural structure that underlies the subjective experience of being mindful, we begin to understand how a mindfulness practice supports integration, health, and overall well-being.
BodyIntelligence and Alexander Technique with Imogen Ragone
One of my biggest stress/anxiety tools. My personal study of the neurobiology of trauma and its resolution have shown me that Alexander Technique (AT) is greatly in line with the science that heals. Alexander Technique has become my go-to for noticing ease in even the most difficult situations. Imogen developed her own unique approach, which she calls BodyIntelligence, that “integrates mindfulness, posture and self-care, to give her clients practical and empowering strategies to relieve and prevent stress and tension.”
Therapist, teacher, author, and attorney at David Bedrick, JD, Dipl PW offers holistic, non-shaming views of ourselves as human beings in process. His best-known book title is “Talking Back to Dr. Phil,” which exposes the shaming and harmful aspects of mainstream psychology.
The 7 Healthy Mind Platter activities can help keep your relationships healthy and actually integrate your brain. An integrated brain is the foundation of well-being and resilience.
The good doctor reminds us why we need each other, and how we can help each other heal.
Laughter Yoga is not a comedy. It is an exercise program for Health and Wellbeing. The yoga part of Laughter is the combination of Laughter Exercises with yoga breathing techniques ( Pranayama ). There are more than 20,000 free social Laughter clubs in 110 countries. Besides, Laughter Yoga also being practised in Senior centres, age care facilities, schools and colleges, companies, corporations, factories, physically and mentally challenged, police and prisons.
Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.
I'm OK, You're OK, by Thomas Harris
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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
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